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Re: [ARSCLIST] Everest masters

Curled mag-film has been a problem over the years. The solution I saw first-hand was a varient on my gauze-in-the-headcan method I use for badly curled magnetic tape. A Westrex head box needs a bit more radical solution than a gauze pad, but it's the same idea. It works. It's not good for the head over long periods, but it works.

Sondor is the machine I was thinking of, I'm pretty sure. The solution I've seen pictured is a good idea and would allow for much more precise tensioning, just enough back-pressure to compensate for the curl tension, so the film rides flat against the head.

Of coure when you talk magnetic film, you're talking Hollywood vaults, so there is money out there to fund development of some very clever solutions.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott D. Smith" <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:18 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Everest masters

That's pretty much what I thought the case would be. As you mention, though, the balance may not be in line with what the head tones are.

The machine you are referring to is a Sondor, with a modified
headblock. It's interesting to note that we designed a similar
headblock for a couple of our dubbers back in 1997 to address the film
to head contact problems related to warped base material (I think ours
is a somewhat different composition from the Sondor roller, though).
Too bad I didn't patent it....


Scott D. Smith
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Quoting Tom Fine <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:

I think the Command 3-channel spread would be similar to what RCA or
Mercury 3-channel spread is. In other words, left right and middle.
They key would be, would the reissuing engineer and producer understand
how to balance them so the 3-channel product would sound natural? It's
not necessarily as simple as setting uniform levels to head tones, but
sometimes it really is that simple with a minimum-mics recording.
Command was recorded with more than 1 mic per channel in some cases but
the spread was still the same idea -- a natural width and balance of
the orchestra. So I don't think it's necessarily not what the producers
intended, as long the natural balance and spread was maintained.

The Command films I know about first-hand about are not in good shape,
but could be transferred using one of those machines -- I believe built
in Switzerland -- that push the film against the head with a pressure
pad. I am not sure how much of the total catalog survives to this day.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott D. Smith" <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:00 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Everest masters


That pretty much confirms what I had heard second-hand. Too bad that
someone along the way didn't realize the value of them and put them
into archival containers.

It would be interesting to hear some of these recordings in their
original three channel form (even though that's not what Robert Fine
and the producers had necessarily intended). It's just tragedy that
they weren't cared for.

I hope that you were able to make some decent transfers, as my guess
is they won't stand many more.


Scott D. Smith
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Quoting Mark Jenkins <MJenkins@xxxxxxxxxx>:


The Everest 35mm masters were in VERY poor condition.  The storage
containers we received them in were decades old, rusty, and the
vinegaring process had already started in many of them.  They were
immediately transferred to new stable containers; however, I have been
unable to locate a few of the tapes that evidently (from what I have
been told) had already deteriorated beyond retrieval prior to our
purchase of them.

As for the other portions of the catalogue, certain areas (such as the
Fine Arts Quartet recordings) were actually in fair condition, and many
of these have already been transferred, and will eventually appear on
digital retail sites such as classical.com.  We're still in the process
of getting through all of the material in order to make it available
again in disc-on-demand, as well as digital (and in some cases CD)


Mark Jenkins
President, Licensing Division
Madacy Entertainment LP/Countdown Media

-----Original Message----- From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Scott D. Smith Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 1:39 PM To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Project 3 masters


Fascinating. I would be most interested in knowing what you find in
the Project 3 catalog.

What kind of condition were the Everest masters in? They have really
gotten bounced around over the years...


Scott D. Smith
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

Quoting Mark Jenkins <MJenkins@xxxxxxxxxx>:


We actually represent the current owners of the Project 3 catalogue,
Music, for licensing.  We have not exploited this particular catalogue
as of yet (as our initial interest was in the Vox catalogue, which is
also owned by them).  I'm in the process of getting a list of the type
of masters in the archive still extant (multi-channel, 35mm, quad,
etc.).  Presently, the masters for these are in storage in
Massacheusetts.  I do not, as of yet, have a good handle on the
condition of these, but will update you when known.

Mark Jenkins President, Licensing Division Madacy Entertainment LP/Countdown Media

-----Original Message----- From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:ARSCLIST@xxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Scott D. Smith Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 5:54 PM To: ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm magnetic film as a music-master recording method


To the best of my knowledge, Command stopped using 35mm as a recording
medium after Enoch Light sold the label to ABC Records in 1965. ABC

sold it to MCA, who promptly relegated it to the trash heap of re-issues. A sad story...

Richard Gradone did a doctoral dissertation on the career of Enoch

and his record labels while at NYU in 1980. I have never read it, so I don't know if it might contain any pertinent information or not.

I have only a few Project 3 original releases. I know that "Patterns
Sound" series was done on 35mm, but after that, I'm really not sure.
There is also the entire catalog of Project 3 quad releases, which I
assume were probably done on 4 track tape, but could have been
on 35mm 4 track mag as well.

In general, the recordings that Enoch Light did under the Command
were considered by many to be both artistically and technically

to the Project 3 releases, which had arrangements which were tended to be less interesting than those that were done under the Command label. In general, they didn't sell as well as the Command releases did.

I have no idea what Essex is doing with the current catalog, or even
where the masters are. My guess is that they are probably in about the
same condition as the Everest masters.

The only other possible release I can think of might be the 1957
(Stokowski) version of "Fantasia", release by Walt Disney under the
Buena Vista label. Sadly, the original 1939 recording has been lost to
time, having been recorded on 35mm nitrate film, and later transferred
to 3 track magnetic film over a jury-rigged class A phone line
arrangement in 1955. Despite this, Terry Porter managed to clean it up
fairly well for the 1980 re-release.

There were also a number of other movie soundtracks which were done on
35mm mag for film release, some which ran simultaneous session tapes.
know a few scoring mixers who worked in Hollywood during the early
seventies. They have told me that practices varied from session to
session. Some would run tape and film, others were done only on film
(usually four track or six track), and later mixed to a 2 track tape
master for album release. Since liner notes seldom contained these
details, they are probably lost to time. Nearly every mixer I've
to has preferred the quality of the mag film masters over those done
tape. This is probably primarily due to the faster speed of the film
(equivalent to 18 IPS), thicker oxide formulations, and wider track
configuration (150 mil for 3 track, 100 mil for 6 track).

Nearly all the mag film that I have worked with from the mid-1950's
through the late 60's has suffered from some degree of VS, some much
more so than others. Even film that has been stored in decent vault
conditions has suffered, primarily due to the fact that most of it has
been stored in sealed film cans, which doesn't allow for venting of
film. Most of the films also suffer from various degrees of base warp,
which makes for a difficult situation when it comes to maintaining
film-to-head contact.

Scott D. Smith
*Chicago Audio Works, Inc.*

Tom Fine wrote:
Hi All:

I'm cookin' up some research here and I figured I throw a few
questions out to the group. The topic: the use of 35mm mag-film as

main recording medium for music albums.

1. As far as I can tell, before Everest Records started using 35mm to
do classical music recording sessions, the only prior use of 35mm as
an album-recording or album-mastering medium was a few cases of
film-soundtrack albums where the LP master was cut right from the

soundtrack magnetic master. I think RCA issued a few of these early

the LP era but I'm not positive those were from 35mm magnetic masters
(they might have been from optical masters from pre-magnetic film
days). Any specific pre-Everest titles would be most appreciated.
Everest's use of mag-film was circa 1959-60.

2. The mag-film trend was short-lived, I think. As far as I can tell,
by 1964 or so, only Command Records was still regularly making 35mm
mag-film masters for music albums. Any information on other labels
aside from Command and Project 3 regularly using 35mm as their
recording and mastering medium in the mid-60's would be appreciated.
The last Mercury Living Presence film sessions were 1963. Mercury's
pop Perfect Presence series ended in late 1961, if I recall

3. By the late 60's, I think only Enoch Light's Project 3 Records was still regularly recording and/or mastering to 35mm. If anyone has information different from this, I'd be most appreciative if they'd share it. I think Project 3 continued to use 35mm regularly into the early 70's, even creating 4-track quad masters. But I don't have any specifics about that era and Project 3, so any additional information is greatly appreciated.

For those shy and/or discreet, please feel free to ping me off-list
and thank you in advnace.


-- Tom Fine
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